21.06.2010 - 21.06.2010 32 °C
I had absolutely no intention when I woke up to spend most of my day shopping, but I was sucked into the relentless capitalist web that swoops down and catches hapless people walking the streets. I should say that there was some logic in my frivilous impulse shopping today. New York has no tax, whatsoever, on clothing items costing less than $200, and what with VAT back home being raised to 20%, with hindsight this was a very prudent move on my part if I do say so myself.
So I began with some standard shopping at places like H&M and Gap, and then hit the big department stores; Macys and Bloomingdales. These department stores are fantastic, not only are their sales excellent, but they have a Visitors Discount of 10% for all non-US citizens. This is arguably the best discrimination I've ever faced!
Now thoroughly laden down with my purchases I foolishly made my way to Abercrombie and Hollister. I say foolishly because I hadn't had lunch, I was physically strained and carrying my bags, so my defences were down. Abercrombie and Hollister employ the shock and awe strategy to dazzling effect - all of the senses are under assault as soon as the shops' thresholds are passed. In the darkened corners the eyes are blinded by accidentally strolling into spotlights only then to be struck by the biki-clad women and topless men relentlessly asking, "Whattt's up?" on an infuriating repeat mode as if to have forgotten that very little had changed from not being up when they asked ten seconds previously. Before the eyes have time to recover you will have already inhaled asphyxiating volumes of cologne or perfume, which has saturated the room - so much so in fact that you will be tasting it. I barely made it out alive.
If I thought that was tough I was thoroughly unprepared from this evening's activity. I had been entered into my first 10km race - not only my first race, but the furthest I had ever run in one single go before. The race was part of New York's summer Park Races series, this one being held at Sunken Meadow. With hindsight I ought to have offered the course more respect when right from the outset, on telling people it was my first race I got responses along the lines, "Oh no - are you sure you're ready for this?", "Oh my! You know this course is infamous for cardic hill don't you?!" The night was hot (30 celcius) and even on the beachside course, the humidity at 7pm was high. Well anyway I got to it and I actually enjoyed it, but I this may not have been so were it not for the blissful Long Island scenery. I broke through 4 miles, which was before this the furthest I had run and even got to the 6.2 mile finish line. I was satisfied with my time (54.40), I came under the 1 hour target I set for myself and although, I confess myself the time is slow, its a start and a time to beat. Of particular note was me being the UK's highest finisher, placed 419 out of 2069 competitors. Race photos can be seen here http://assets.longislandpress.com/photos/gallery.php?gazpart=view&gazimage=4473.
Hopfully the leg muscles will still respond tomorrow!